Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 48, Issue 2, pp 212–227 | Cite as

The Effects of Bystander Programs on the Prevention of Sexual Assault across the College Years: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

  • Heather Hensman KettreyEmail author
  • Robert A Marx
Systematic Literature Review


Research on sexual assault prevention programs implemented with young people has largely failed to examine program effects between age groups. This systematic review and meta-analysis synthesizes data from 15 high quality studies (N= 6104) examining the effects of sexual assault prevention bystander programs on bystander efficacy, intentions, and intervention across the college years. Findings indicate bystander programs have a significant, desirable effect on all three outcomes. Effects on bystander intentions were significantly stronger among students in their first two years compared to those in their later years of college. There was no evidence of a significant difference in effects on bystander efficacy or intervention between these two groups. Implications and directions for future research are discussed.


Sexual assault Bystander Meta-analysis Adolescence College Prevention 



This research was supported by a grant from the Campbell Collaboration (CSR1.60). The authors would like to thank Emily Tanner-Smith for her valuable methodological input on this project.

Authors’ Contributions

HHK conceived of the study, participated in the design, data collection, and analysis for the study, and drafted the manuscript. RAM participated in the design and data collection for the study and drafted the manuscript. Both authors read and approved the final manuscript.


This research was supported by a grant from the Campbell Collaboration (CSR1.60).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

As this research was a quantitative synthesis of publically available material, ethical approval from the authors’ Institutional Review Board was not required.

Informed Consent

As the research did not involve human participants, the authors could not and did not obtain informed consent.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminal JusticeClemson UniversityClemsonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Human and Organizational Development, Peabody CollegeVanderbilt UniversityNashvilleUSA

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